Rohit Sharma said he was under no pressure to hold his Test spot and brushed aside the talk as baseless following his magnificent 82 on Sunday that put India on top of the ongoing second Test against the Kiwis at the Eden Gardens. “As far as I'm concerned, there's no pressure,” Sharma was adamant.
Although it was his highest Test score since his two centuries against the West Indies way back in 2014, the Mumbai batsman said, “Every time I play it only comes from the media that I'm under pressure. But as far as I am concerned I was never under pressure.
“You may have seen me on the field. I'm going to ask you this, do I look under pressure when I was playing? Even in the first Test or the second Test...”
Even if there was no pressure on the 29-year-old, the team was certainly struggling with a top-order collapse, but recovered to end the day strongly with an overall lead of 339 following useful contributions from captain Virat Kohli and Wriddhiman Saha, with the latter still at the wicket.
“It's not a typical Calcutta wicket. They have re-laid the surface and you may have seen uneven bounce occasionally. Every now and then there was uneven bounce. At no point the batsmen could relax and take it for granted. Every ball you played, you had to make sure you give more than 100% for that ball,” explained the Mumbai Indians’ captain.
“So me and Saha, when we were batting, we only decided we had to play each ball on its merit, not to think too far ahead, not to think what was coming next, focus on the present, which was every ball thrown at us.
“So we were focused on that. We lost a few wickets initially and it was all about rebuilding the partnership. We have seen over the years in Test match cricket there have been quick wickets, and it takes only one or two batsmen to make sure that you get the team out of trouble. Saha and myself, that 100-run partnership was crucial according to the team's perspective.”
Rohit also hailed the batting depth of the side, describing the tail-enders as “lower-order batsmen.”
“We don't have tail-enders, They are proper lower-order batsmen,” he said. “Ashwin has got Test hundreds, Saha has got a hundred, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) occasionally has scored a fifty - he has scored fifties in England, (Ravindra) Jadeja has scored runs. You never know (Mohammed) Shami might get a fifty tomorrow.”
Saha and Kumar resume on Monday as India push to set a big target for the Kiwis.